NOW Get Fit Immersion Recap & Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is a recap of a sponsored trip to the Now Foods facility. As always, I only align myself with companies and products that are in line with my values and all opinions are my own.
Knowing baby would be really young this May, I had planned ahead that he and Tim would travel with me to two of my favorite conferences: SCAN Symposium and Today’s Dietitian. However, when Cooper decided to arrive late, I made the decision to skip SCAN (for the first time in 5 years) in Keystone, CO since he’d only be 7 weeks at the time. I also made the last minute decision to skip Today’s Dietitian Symposium in Austin {hard call, love that city} because my new gig with the Phillies organization plus some family stuff this month had me ov-er-whelmed.
With clear FOMO watching these symposiums and seeing my RD friends attend them on social media, it’s easy to feel a bit out of the loop and alone, even though I’m home with my awesome baby. Well, the opportunity to travel for just about 36 hours outside of Chicago was the perfect treat to get my fix of learning and networking, while not feeling too bad about leaving the little guy behind. Leaving Cooperman, buddy-boy, angel baby Jones was NOT easy. As I left him with my mom and dad to head to the airport I was a crying mess, but once I got to the NOW Immersion, I remembered how much I love my job in the wellness industry and my passion for optimally fueling and supporting other’s bodies and minds was reinvigorated. Lucky for you, you get to enjoy a piece of my trip too, as I’m giving away all of the same products I received from NOW {see below to enter}.
If you’ve read my about me section, you saw that my nutrition journey started long ago, as a young teen when some dietary changes were the solution to some severe health problems my mom was enduring. Fast forward a couple of years and I took my first job at a health food store where I was even more immersed into wellness in the body care department. I learned a lot there about natural body care products as well as safe supplements, though I will admit at that time probably saw more value in supplements than food, but that’s another story. Why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s where I was first introduced to NOW products. The essential oils in my department at the store were exciting to learn about and I’ve had them in my home ever since. While I’ve never taken many supplements other than iron, Vitamin D, and probiotics before becoming pregnant, the orange bottles have been in my family’s home since then too, and were always recommended by the naturopaths in the supplement department.
Fast forward through my years as a student athlete, time in grad school, and experience as a dietitian, and you know I have a whole foods first philosophy. I also preach about intuitive eating, not restricting or depriving yourself, and listening to your body so it can guide you to what you need – so you can enjoy life and all of experiences to the fullest – with a side of french fries or a cupcake, without any guilt or regrets. But my blog title “Eat Real Live Well’ is still important to me. I still believe what was put on this earth in it’s natural form is what is best for us, and if we really listen, our body will guide us to that most of the time. I also maintain that blog title because I don’t recommend fake butter, artificial sweeteners, fat replacers, {insert low calorie diet crap that fight your bodies natural needs}. Ingredients are important to me because your body appreciates the real stuff, but our environment, insects and animals all appreciate it too.
Now to the trip and how this comes full-circle. In my 24ish total hours with the NOW team, I quickly saw their passion for helping others and learned how important it is to them to provide the highest quality food, body care, and supplement products at an affordable price.
NOW Fitfluential Immersion

Day 1

The big activity our first day was a trip to the Cooking Skills Academy to get to know each other better and see what foods NOW has available. When we walked in we were greeted by Jim, the CEO, but to my surprise he didn’t just greet us, but spent the next 24 hours hanging out and getting to know us. He gave us his story with NOW, where he’s worked his way up to his position over many years and is proud to work for a family owned company that turns down 2-4 offers a day for a buy out.
NOW foods
They threw an apron on us and after Kasey, of Powercakes, made us some amazing chocolate protein donuts (and I don’t even usually love donuts) we got some pro tips from local chef Paul Guerrero (my fave being that if you slice an onion vs. pushing to cut it, you release less sulfur and minimize crying!). Then we headed right into an Iron Chef competition in teams of 4.

The secret ingredient? All of the NOW foods products (thank God it wasn’t just one food!). Plus we had some tuna, chicken, eggs, a few veggies, and Forager yogurt available. My group, made up of Marissa from UpRoot Kitchen, Kelly from Eat the Gains, and Kate the So Cal Runner Gal, dove right in to make a cucumber salad that quickly morphed into a Greek style poke bowl. I toasted some cashews while the other ladies prepped the dressing and veggies and we worked together to taste, add seasoning and plate.
NOW Iron Chef Poke Bowl

After I presented our dish while droppin some facts about fats and fat soluble vitamin absorption, we watched the judges expressions and decided we were probably not going to win. However, Jim, the CEO and sweetest man ever, had wonderful things to say about our dish as he presented us with 3rd place….out of 5. We still had a blast and my girl Jess’s team won!
We then had a delicious dinner. I had tilapia, though there was also chicken, and some delicious zucchini and carrot noodles in sauces I can’t even describe the amazing flavor of! We also sampled the banana bread and brownies made straight from their boxed mixes. Real-food short cuts for the win!

Day 2

In the morning we met in the lobby to meet and get water bottles & fresh pre-workout granola bars then headed straight to a workout with Kasey that I was pretty nervous for. I’ve only done dance fitness classes, short run/walks, short bursts of body weight activity on my own, and liiiight weights since being cleared at 6 weeks post-partum. And the schedule called for an hour long HIIT workout… warm up was about the extent to which I had done body weight exercises (lunges, pushups, a few burpees included). But, I somehow felt amazing for the rest of the group exercise despite the tabata style (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 rounds of exercises) movements we kept doing. It all ended with 8 rounds of true burpees, before a stretch and a huge endorphin hit!
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NOW Fitfluential Immersion 2018Dietitians Post Workout
We then headed to a smoothie bar where I knew I needed some chocolate 🙂 . I mixed mango, banana, cacao, plant protein, and almond milk, but the big ingredient for added flavor was the chocolate mocha MCT oil. While research on athletic benefits of the oil is still mixed and benefits can be controversial, it’s not some fake junk and definitely won’t hurt you, so why be afraid of a delicious source of fat??
NOW smoothie
After a shower and delicious omelet with some of the other attendees (yes, we were frequently well fed), we packed up and headed to the operations facility, which was the most impressive part of the trip.
eaglewood resort breakfast buffet
It wasn’t just the equipment and protocols for quality assurance testing that was notable {roughly 10% of all NOW employees work on the quality assurance team}, but I left inspired by the people I met and how proud they were of their jobs. Between the information we received from Jim and Dan the night before and the tour from Neil and Jessica at the facility, it’s clear that NOW’s greatest values are allowing everyone from the average person to the elite athlete to be their healthiest and happiest selves.
NOW operations facility
Along the tour, I snapped pictures of some of their industry leading research posters, including one for their testing for adulterated supplements. They even shared this data with the FDA and other companies, as well as how to apply the information to other companies, for no payment or consulting fees. They simply want all supplements to be safer for consumption, which is very admirable in the supplement industry!Rapid screening test for adulteration of herbal supplements
The microbiology lab may be one of the coolest as it contains the only Ribo Printer in North America! I didn’t know what that meant at first either, but it’s a machine that allows NOW to verify the identity and potency of probiotics coming into their facility that will be used in supplements. As a nutrition nerd, and someone who has probiotics on their list of supplements recommended to most people, this was very impressive!NOW microbiology lab
There were also several processes and machines that are dedicated to ensuring the quantity of ingredients in each product. For example, how do you know the iron supplement you purchased actually contains the 18 mg per serving it indicates? Or how much of an herb is in a capsule you bought? Many companies aren’t double checking for you, while NOW is measuring to the millionth of a gram with state of the art machinery and manpower. While I still recommend supplements be taken on an individual basis as recommended by a physician, naturopath, or dietitian, I feel confident in recommending NOW brand versus others. Another bonus I haven’t mentioned yet is the new Informed Choice third party certification, extremely important for athletes to help guard against positive drug tests.

Our last stop of the immersion was a trip to the NOW corporate offices where we had an amazing lunch catered from Whole Foods and learned all about the body care and essential oil lines. I was extra excited about this as I use Whole Foods all of the time to cater the Phillies MiLB teams on the road and while they’re always thrilled with it, I’m never there to try it!

After lunch we learned more about how NOW is able to provide high quality products at an affordable price. I thought it necessary to snap a picture of this slide where they indicate that they’re aren’t doing anything extraordinary… you just need to ask yourself why other brands are overpriced!
NOW quality at an affordable price NOW essential oils
All the goodies you’re seeing were used to make a DIY sports scrub for the tub as well as a gym bag disinfectant spray. It was fun to have some homemade treats to take back with us, and it reminded me there’s so much more we can do with essential oils than just diffuse them!

Before heading to the airport we had an awesome “Gong Sound Bath” meditative session with Leslie McDonald, who is also a Reiki practitioner. It was the perfect end to the trip and reminded me how important meditation and yoga are for self-care!

The Giveaway

In partnership with NOW foods, I’m giving away all of the same swag that they gave me on the trip! That’s two massive bags full of over 20 products from all of their lines, at a $520 value. As you can see, there were too many to clearly fit them all in one picture, so I made sure my favorites were in the shot. I was most excited about the glass USB essential oil diffuser and uplifting oils, personal smoothie blender, and plant protein. Still, I cannot wait to use the butter flavored coconut oil to make some popcorn cause it smells ahhh-mazing.

To enter to win:

  1. Comment below with which product excites you most or what about the NOW brand most resonates with you. Include your email address when leaving your comment so you can be contacted if you win.
  2. For bonus entries, head to Instagram!

Contest closes Friday June 1 at 11:59 PM and is open to US residents only. One winner will be chosen and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

Share Your Thoughts

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  1. The Chocolate Mocha MCT Oil sounds delish and the plant protein powder as well, because I am a smoothie girl! I have Crohns Disease and a permanent ileostomy so I have a lot of smoothies! This would be a great win for me!

  2. Oooh, that glass essential oil diffuser is beautiful!! I’m definitely interested in that. I would love to try out all the other products as well and see if they help me at all on my fitness journey 🙂 🙂 my email is ipreferquirky at gmail dot com.

  3. Hi Kelly, I’m especially interested in the Magnesium Topical Spray and Muscle Cream. I occasionally get jumpy achy legs in the evening and these products might help.

  4. I have been eyeing the magnesium spray and doing research on it…but the diffuser would be first up!

  5. I’m especially interested in the magnesium spray! My dad gets crippling leg cramps in the middle of the night and I’d love to see how this could help! (PS… awesome trip! Sounds like an amazing time! You are RD goals!!)

  6. The personal smoothie blender! I always feel that I make way too much and I hate cleaning out my whole blender just for one smoothie. This would totally help me make some more delicious liquid drinks!! I would absolutely love to try out some of those protein products. The last one you recommended has done wonders so far!

  7. I would be excited to learn about coconut butter. I use organic coconut oil, but always want to increase my knowledge, usage of this wonder food.I have bought NOW food products in the past, and may do so again, if available locally.

  8. Yay! I am eager to try out the plant protein as I was just searching for the best protein products to use when making your own protein bars and NOW was highlighted. I am also on the search for a new Vitamin D-3 supplement as I have been reading that runners need extra support. As a mother and an athlete I am always looking for certified quality products to insure that I am providing my little ones and myself with the good stuff, NOW provides that quality ad is why I look forward to trying out the products. I would feel blessed to win the giveaway as being a one income household makes it hard to find the money for the extras we need.

  9. coconut butter for the win – would love to try. I have tried some NOW supplements previously, and would love to add some different ones. Magnesium spray and muscle cream also would be awesome!!!!

  10. Everything looks wonderful to try. I would like the NOW Organic Plant Protein since I am trying to add more protein to my diet.

  11. Wow, what a hard decision-I think the essential oils intrigue me most. I feel as though they’ve been on my radar but I haven’t taken the leap to try them out. I teach health/phys ed and would LOVE the idea of a diffuser in our office; I KNOW it would spark conversation with our high school students!